What We Like
Clear cover allows for easy monitoring
No extra settings to figure out
What We Don't Like
Unable to customize drying temperature
No time or alarm setting
Bottom-mounted fan is hard to clean
Trays have to be flipped to store it and flipped again when you want to use it
It’s no secret that dehydrating snacks at home can save you money. Not only is a more economical choice, but it’s also a healthier choice as highly processed store-bought varieties often contain added sugar, salt, and chemicals. If you’re scratching your head wondering how many batches of apple chips or turkey jerky you’ll you need to prepare before seeing the financial benefits of making your own dehydrated snacks, take a look at the Presto 06300. The basic dehydrator pays for itself after just one or two rounds of drying. This makes it an ideal choice for the novice home chef who wants to try dehydrating their own snacks without making a big upfront investment. Keep reading for our full assessment of the model’s performance.
Setup Process: A few simple steps
Most dehydrators are ready to go out of the box, but the Presto Dehydro needed some extra attention. It comes with the trays nestled together. To use the dehydrator, we needed to flip them to provide the needed room for air circulation between trays. Presto must know that this extra step is unusual because a set-up guide is included. While it’s a bit annoying to have to restack the trays every time you want to store it and again when you want to use it, we appreciate how this step lessens the dehydrator’s footprint and makes it easier to store.
Performance: Healthy snacks quickly
We tested the Presto Dehydro by drying mangoes, bananas, apricots, and beef jerky. I used a skirt steak, but any thinly sliced meat would work well. The dehydrator doesn’t have a temperature control; rather it’s designed to dry food at a consistent 165 degrees. This is the ideal temperature for dehydrating meat, and after consulting the user manual, we learned we’d need to dehydrate our jerky for 10 to 12 hours.
We also set up our batch of fruit to dehydrate separately; the manual recommends using fruits that are ripe and sliced uniformly thin. Fruit can take anywhere from three to 20 hours to dry, depending on how you cut them and the water content of the fruit you’re using. To speed up drying times, the manual also details a variety of pretreatments for each fruit type. This includes dipping some fruits—like figs and grapes—in boiling water and then ice water to crack the skin.
Our fruits took between four to six hours to finish.
Not being able to control the temperature setting meant that we had to check in on the progress of our food more frequently than we liked. We chose a day we were hanging around the house, but if we needed to run an errand, we would have felt torn between completing necessary tasks and babysitting our appliance. With repeated use, we expect to learn the ideal drying times for items we frequently dehydrate, but it was an annoyance in the beginning.
When all was said and done, our fruits took between four to six hours to finish. The time variation here was based on the fact that we dehydrated fruits of different sizes and water contents in the same batch. We ended up splitting our jerky in two; the 10-hour batch came out chewy while the 12-hour batch was drier and crispier. The jerky was just as tender as most store-bought varieties and more flavorful. We loved that we could customize the flavor and texture to our individual preferences. Drying fruit using a dehydrator also allowed us to avoid added sugar, which is often added in store-bought options.
Design: Sleek and compact
Our favorite aspect of the Presto Dehydro was the design. The crisp white trays and clear top made it look sharp on the counter, not to mention we were able to easily check in on our dehydrating food with just a glance.
Storing the dehydrator was also simple. The trays nestle within one another to lessen the height of the dehydrator when being stored. There are handy “This Side Up” markings on the handles but these can be easy to overlook if you’re in a hurry. The cord also tucks underneath the base, making it the ideal dehydrator to use if you want (or need) to leave it out on your counter.
The trays nestle within one another to lessen the height of the dehydrator when being stored.
The appliance comes with four drying trays but can accommodate eight if you purchase additional ones. Other units may offer more trays or capacity, but we appreciated that the Presto Dehydro was compact enough to store in our cabinet. The flat top also meant that we could stack other lightweight kitchen tools on top of it for efficient storage.
Features: Just the basics
As we’ve already mentioned, the Presto Dehydro doesn’t have a temperature control. This is both a pro and a con. The silver lining is that the dehydrator couldn’t be simpler to use as there’s no way to set it to the wrong temperature. But, the lack of control here also means you have to babysit the appliance, checking in on your food pretty frequently. If you have a day of errands planned or even just want to enjoy a movie or a few uninterrupted hours of reading whilst dehydrating, this may be a drawback.
Care: Pretty simple
The Presto Dehydro’s trays can be washed by hand or in a dishwasher. Other than needing to scrub off a bit of dried-on fruit or jerky, they proved easy and fast to clean. The one design aspect that required more attention when it came time to clean was the screen which covers bottom-mounted fan. The configuration of the fan facilitates an even air flow throughout the drying process, but it does mean that liquids and small pieces of food can drip through to the fan’s screen. While this is an extra piece to clean, a scrub brush was all it took to loosen leftover food.
With a retail price of $50 this dehydrator is a great budget pick. A handful of store-bought dehydrated fruit or jerky can easily run you more, so it’s cost-effective snacking solution.
Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator vs. NESCO FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator
Like any appliance there are basic dehydrators and those with all the bells and whistles. The thing is, you’ll probably have a hard time distinguishing between the final results as budget-friendly models like the Presto Dehydro are just as capable of drying your favorite snacks. The one thing we do think is worth a higher price tag is a temperature control setting.
Dehydrating food at a lower temperature maintains more nutritional value, which is why the NESCO FD-75A Snackmaster Pro is an attractive option. The $70 dehydrator has temperature controls and a top-mounted fan that makes it easier to clean. For $10 more than the Presto Dehydro, you also get five trays as opposed to four (it’s expandable up to 12 if you purchase more). One major con is the solid top, though. The Presto Dehydro’s clear top means you can peek in on the progress of your snacks while the NESCO requires you to remove the lid.
- Product Name Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator
- Product Brand Presto
- MPN 6300
- Price $49.99
- Weight 6.95 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 15.75 x 14.75 x 6.25 in.
- Warranty 1-year limited for defects in material or workmanship
- What’s Included Base fan, four drying trays, and clear cover